Woman in viral stand-up comedy video pleads not guilty to subverting harmony, bail set at RM20,000

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Crackhouse Comedy Club open mic participant Siti Nuramira Abdullah, who went viral for a performance deemed offensive to Islam, pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing disharmony and hatred at the Sessions Court here today.

The 26-year-old was charged before Judge Siti Aminah Ghazali with “causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion”, a crime under Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code.

The court allowed her RM20,000 bail with one surety. She was also required to report to the Brickfields police station once a month and must surrender her passport to the court.

Her next court date will be on August 18.

Siti Nuramira’s defence counsel argued for bail to be set between RM4,000 and RM5,000 as she was not a flight risk and because of her uncertain financial circumstances.

They also argued that the offence was not serious as grave acts were given imprisonment terms of more than 10 years whereas if she were convicted, she would face imprisonment of only two to five years.

She was represented by Datuk Shaharudin Ali, R. Sivaraj and Ramesh MP Chandran.

Deputy public prosecutors Najihah Farhana Che Awang and Wan Ahmad Hakimi Wan Ahmad Jaafar, however, argued for bail to be set at RM50,000, saying that too low a sum would affect public perception of the judiciary.

The video of Siti Nuramira’s allegedly offensive stand-up comedy routine began with her claiming that she had memorised half the Quran, after which she removed her headscarf and baju kurung to reveal a spaghetti strap top and miniskirt.

It was posted on social media, where it blew up after it was reshared with a caption claiming that the routine had insulted Islam leading to backlash from Muslims.

Siti Nuramira’s partner Alexander Navin Vijayachandran, who recorded the performance, was charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for “improper use of network facilities or network service”.

Crackhouse Comedy Club in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, which hosted the event, lodged a police report over the incident, and the duo were banned from the venue.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), however, issued an order to temporarily shut down the venue.

National news agency Bernama reported Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias as saying that DBKL’s action proved that Putrajaya would not tolerate any activities deemed offensive to sensitivities on religion, race and the country’s sovereignty.

He was also quoted as saying Crackhouse has been operating without an entertainment licence and only has a restaurant licence.